Sullivan Hall at Seattle
University School of Law.
There’s a popular s a y i n g a m o n g e n t r e p r e n e u r s , especially in the te c h f i e l d : I t ’ s better to ask for forgiveness than pe rm is s ion. Lawyers, though? Lawyers prefer permission.
“Lawyers are good at saying no,”
says Steve Tapia, an intellectual prop-
erty lawyer for more than 30 years.
“But for entrepreneurs, no isn’t an ac-
ceptable answer. For lawyers to help
entrepreneurs, they need to learn how
to think like entrepreneurs. They need
to figure out how they can say yes.”
Tapia, who has worked for compa-
nies like Microsoft and DirecTV, is
now a distinguished practitioner in
residence at Seattle University School
of Law, where he’s helping to build pro-
grams that prepare students for legal
careers assisting entrepreneurs at ev-
ery level of the economy — from smart-
phone apps to mom-and-pop business-
es to multinational corporations.
Those efforts have now grown into
the law school’s first LL.M. program.
This fall, Seattle University School of
Law (Seattle U) will offer a master of
law degree in technology and innovation — the first of its kind in the region — as well as an advanced degree
in tribal law. A third LL.M. program in
elder law will be added in 2017.
The new technology curriculum is
based on conversations that the LL.M.
program faculty and law school Dean
Annette Clark had with employers and
other lawyers about what skills and
knowledge they wanted to see in the
law school’s graduates.
“The ongoing dialogue we had with
the legal community suggested that
there was a real need for practitioners
who understand privacy and security,”
Tapia said. “These are increasingly
important issues for everyone in busi-
ness, from the smallest retailer to giant
The 24-credit LL.M. degrees are
open to people who already have J.D.
degrees, as well as qualified graduates
of foreign law schools. Each degree
can be completed in one year of full-
time study or two years on a part-time
schedule. Evening classes are offered
to accommodate working students,
building on the law school’s long-
standing evening J.D. program.
Area experts and practitioners
helped develop the curriculum and
will serve as guest lecturers, instructors, and mentors to students in the
programs. Tapia said the curriculum is
specifically designed to help students
pass professional certification tests after graduation.
Featured classes in the technology
LL.M. program include privacy, cybersecurity, and digital commerce.
Students will examine the interplay
between technological innovation,
complex legal doctrines and regulatory
schemes, business and market models,
INNOVATIONS IN LEGAL EDUCATION
New Degree Offerings at
Seattle University School of Law by Erica Wolf